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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  January 14, 2015 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: the french government cracks down on hate speech as parisians flock to newsstands to buy the first edition of "charlie hebdo" after the terror attacks with a controversial cartoon of the prophet mohammad on the cover. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. also ahead this wednesday, speculation turns to action, as the race for the white house in 2016 kicks into gear. >> ifill: plus, how convicted sex offenders discharged from the military fall under the radar. disappearing into neighborhoods across the country and in some cases committing further crimes. >> it's a damnation of the
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military justice system. a damnation of the military and their responsibility in protecting civil society because in fact, they are not. >> woodruff: and, a climb of a lifetime. scaling a near vertical granite face of yosemite's dawn wall using only hands, feet and a lot of strength to reach the top. those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: it's been one week since the bloodbath at a paris publication that terrorized the city for three days. today, police launched a new crackdown on those supporting extremism and terror. as the newspaper defiantly proclaimed its return. even before news stands opened in paris this morning, long lines formed to buy a copy of the satirical weekly "charlie hebdo." >> ( translated ): in my opinion, it's a historical issue of the magazine, and it may re- launch the newspaper that was decimated. >> ( translated ): "charlie
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hebdo" is the french "south park." it's nothing aggressive, it's nothing annoying, even for my muslim friends. they love "charlie hebdo" for most of them. >> ifill: three million copies quickly sold out, as people snatched up the first issue since islamist gunmen killed 12 people at the newspaper's offices. today's issue featured a new cartoon of mohammed with a sign reading "je suis charlie"-- "i am charlie." many news organization including the pbs newshour have chosen not to show it. reaction from the muslim world official and otherwise, was emphatically negative. >> ( translated ): as an organization, we are in constant discussions in international forums to explain that freedom of expression is not an invitation to hatred and it is not to offend the religion of the others. >> ( translated ): i am against publishing the drawing of any prophet, not only the prophet muhammad, this is unacceptable. they can not abuse such prophets who were sent by god. >> ifill: while france celebrated free expression,
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officials also launched a crackdown on hate speech, with 54 arrests. they included popular comic dieudonne m'bala m'bala, who has multiple convictions for racism and anti-semitism. at the same time, as a makeshift memorial to the "charlie hebdo" victims grew, the leader of al qaeda in yemen issued a formal claim of responsibility. >> ( translated ): we clarify that the one who chose the target, laid the plan, financed the operation and appointed its amir, is the leadership of the organization. we did it in compliance with the command of allah. >> ifill: the government of french president francois hollande has vowed to battle islamic extremists. today, he visited the aircraft carrier "charles de gaulle" and announced it will support operations against islamic state militants in iraq. we'll explore budding debate in france over freedom of expression, after the news summary. >> woodruff: worries about the world economy weighed on wall street today. the world bank cut its global
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growth forecast, and the price of copper, a bellwether commodity, dropped sharply. that sent the dow jones industrial average falling 186 points to close at 17,427, it had been down nearly twice that much, earlier; the nasdaq dropped 22, to close at 4,639; and the s&p 500 slipped 11, to finish at 2,011. >> ifill: top officials in russia warned today of budget cuts and double-digit inflation as the nation faces its worst slowdown in 15 years. the finance minister called for cutting ten percent of all government spending, excluding defense. only a few weeks back, russian president vladimir putin had insisted state spending would not be touched. >> woodruff: the u.s. house of representatives challenged president obama on two fronts today. majority republicans voted to block his executive actions protecting millions of people from deportation. it's part of a broader bill funding the department of homeland security. speaker john boehner said the president's orders, in 2012 and
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last year, violated the law. >> enough is enough. by their votes last november the people made clear that they wanted more accountability from this president. and by our votes here today, we will heed their will and we will keep our oath to protect and defend the constitution of the united states of america. >> woodruff: it is unclear the bill can get the 60 votes needed to advance in the senate. but house democrats, including steve israel of new york, charged republicans are only interested in scoring points with supporters. >> we have a bill that should not be controversial, that should fund our homeland security, but has been turned into a divisive political strategy on immigration. madame speaker, let's face it this bill is not about homeland security. this bill is about republican political security. >> woodruff: the house also voted to ease requirements on
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big banks under the landmark dodd-frank law. it was adopted after the 2008 financial crisis. president obama has threatened to veto both the banking and immigration measures. >> ifill: the f.b.i. arrested an ohio man today on charges of plotting to bomb the u.s. capitol. court documents say federal agents began watching christopher cornell after he expressed support for islamic state militants and tweeted about jihad. he allegedly planned to set off pipe bombs, and then open fire on lawmakers and staffers. >> ifill: search teams near indonesia have found the fuselage of the air-asia passenger jet that crashed into the java sea last month. photos taken by an underwater robot showed the main section of the plane today, lying on the sea floor with part of one wing still attached. officials believe many of the victims are still entombed in the fuselage. >> woodruff: the international
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space station had a scare today when alarms signaled a toxic ammonia leak on the u.s. side. nasa later said there was no sign of an actual leak. the crew-- two americans, three russians and one italian-- moved into the russian side for most of the day. >> ifill: secretary of state john kerry and iran's foreign minister are making a new bid for progress on curbing iran's nuclear program. kerry met with mohammad javad zarif in geneva, ahead of broader talks tomorrow involving other nations. going in, zarif expressed hope, but he also put the onus on the u.s. and its partners. >> ( translated ): we have reached a stage that it is necessary for the other side five permanent security council members and germany to make its decisions so that we could move forward. in our opinion, reaching a deal is completely possible but a political decision and will is needed. >> ifill: zarif and kerry met for five hours, then held a second, unscheduled session late at night. negotiators failed to make an earlier deadline, and are now trying to get a framework deal by march first. >> woodruff: a "washington post" reporter in iran now faces trial there on unspecified charges.
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the iranian state news agency reported today that jason rezaian has been indicted. he holds dual american/iranian citizenship, and has been held since july. it's unclear when the trial will begin. >> ifill: there was a glimmer of hope today in west africa. the world health organization says guinea, liberia and sierra leone had fewer new cases last week than any time since last summer. at the same time, the death toll topped 8,400. >> woodruff: there's word that hundreds of boat people seeking asylum in australia have gone on hunger strike, in papua, new guinea. they're being held there at an australian-run detention center and they've been attacked by locals who want them gone. the refugees say they've stopped eating in protest, and reuters reports some even sewed their mouths shut to make the point. >> ifill: back in this country, new questions swirled today
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about police and deadly force. two officers in albuquerque, new mexico killed a suspect yesterday, saying he had fired on them first. a day earlier, two other police were charged with murder in a 2014 shooting. and in new york, the associated press reported jail guards used force more often than ever, last year. there were nearly 800 more incidents than in 2013. >> woodruff: president obama threw his weight behind efforts to expand high-speed internet access around the country. he pushed the federal communications commission to pre-empt laws in 19 states that prevent communities from developing their own broadband networks. during a visit to ceder falls, iowa, a community that provides such services to its residents. >> i believe that a community has the right to makes its own choice, and to provide its own broadband if it wants to. nobody is going to force you to do it, but if you want to do it if the community decides this is something that we want to do to give ourselves a competitive edge and to help our young people, and our businesses, they should be able to do it.
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>> woodruff: the president said his administration will give technical and financial aid to towns and cities that want to improve internet access. >> ifill: there has been a new shakeup at the secret service, after an embarrassing string of lapses in presidential security. "the washington post" reports four senior officials are being removed and a fifth has decided to retire. the agency's director resigned in october. >> ifill: and the state of california announced the nation's strictest limits on a widely used pesticide. the chemical is injected into the soil before planting strawberries, tomatoes, and other crops. state officials say it also causes eye irritation, coughing fits and headaches. the new rule will mean higher prices on the affected produce. >> ifill: still to come on the newshour, drawing the line between hate speech, satire and opinion. canvassing the suddenly crowded
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field of presidential hopefuls in 2016. how convicted sex offenders in the military slip unnoticed civilian communities. proposed limits on methane emissions when drilling for natural gas. and a historic climb up a near vertical wall in yosemite national park. >> woodruff: today's events in france, from the arrests to the rush to buy the latest issue of "charlie hebdo" raise a number of questions about the limits of speech. we at the newshour have made the decision not to show the cartoon on the new cover of the satirical magazine depicting the prophet mohammad. the reason: the offense it could cause people is greater than the news value. we want to explore these questions of freedom of expression with: longtime radio france journalist and current senior editor bertrand vannier. and, daisy khan, executive director of the american society for muslim advancement.
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we welcome you both to the program. bertrand vannier, how much of a debate is there underway today in france about what has happened with charlie hebdo, with the new cover, the decision to show it or not to show it? >> i think that the opportunity for debate now, one on the political side, national unity is still working. so there's a different debate in society and mainly in the muslim community. many muslims in france are starting to say look, there are different standards here. you leave the charlie hebdo print of the cartoons and you leave the mosque unprotected. there have been 54 incidents against mosques in the last
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three days. there's a double standard to -- towards the muslim population in france. we start to hear that kind of reflection. >> woodruff: daisy khan, is it a double standard, from your perspective, as a prominent muslim here in the united states? >> judy, the problem is that muslims who live in the west are largely judged by the lens of national security. certainly here in america we are largely defined by what happened on 9/11 and, so, whatever muslims do is scrutinized. since many muslims complain in the united states there is a double standard for them, that free speech is not -- they don't enjoy free speech if they criticize their government, they are seen as unpatriotic. if they criticize the policies of israel or even question them they are called anti-semites
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and if they, you know call for examining the root causes of terrorism, they are seen as aiding and abetting. so there is a sense that free speech is not for muslims and that it's only to be enjoyed by westerners. >> woodruff: bertrand vannier how do you as a news editor see it? do you see a different set of standards when it comes to portraying muhammad when it comes to the muslim community? >> as a professional journalist i don't think so. i hope not. but, you know, i'm a journalist, i'm not the one to listen to what i say on the radio. so it's very different depending on the side you are on. i can understand that if i were a muslim today in france which i am not, i could feel that there is definitely a double
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standard. look, there was a vote in france a few years back which forbid the muslim woman to wear the burqa in a public space. they said you forbid us to wear the burqa, but you authorize charlie hebdo to print the cartoon. so that's an example of the double standards. i hope -- i don't know -- i hope that as journalists we are not doing the same. we need to find the two to work equally. >> woodruff: daisy khan, pick up on that. is it seen as unfair because muslims are being, as you said lumped in with this national security debate? is it possible to separate what's going on right now out and say well, this is a
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conversation about journalism, about what is written about in the news media, about what pictures are drawn? >> i think the most important conversation we need to be having right now is about the rise of terrorism. you know, since 9/11 we've seen an increase in terrorism in spite of all the wars we've gone to and in spite of all the money that's been spent by western nations. look at america, we have a footprint in many many muslim countries yet this terrorism seems to be flourishing. we don't have time for a deep commentary, but i would say what needs to happen is the beautiful display we saw in paris the other day when everybody came out hand in hand and basically we need to take it to the next level to see how we could collaborate together, law enforcement, muslim communities and government to see how we can
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really push back on terrorism which is flourishing everywhere. by the way, westerners are not the only ones getting killed by these terrorists. muslims are the biggest victims of terrorism. so i know that muslims in france i visited recently i heard many perspectives, they are very anxious to work with law enforcement to prevent their communities from being harm, not only being harmed physically, but really it's having a deep effect on the psyche of muslims and that's dangerous. >> woodruff: bertrand vannier, is it possible to separate the kind of unity daisy khan is describing, the need to focus on terrorist, the terrorist threat from this other debate that's going on? you described it yourself about what is and isn't permissible in the media. >> i don't know if it's possible
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to separate the two debate and the two conversations these days in france after the charlie hebdo attack, it's not possible to separate the two debates. it has to be separated because if it's not you'll start having a conversation about different views and different ideas within the muslim community where we've seen eyes closed to terrorist activities or terrorist ideas. so there's a thin line, and that thin line is seen today in france that there is a risk to put the muslim community on the back side of the debate. >> woodruff: daisy khan, i want to ask you, a number of news organizations in the united states argue that it was acceptable to show this new cover of the magazine charlie
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hebdo because they say it's a more acceptable portrait of the prophet muhammad. it shows him weeping. it has a statement "all is forgiven" over it. how do you as a muslim answer that? >> well, i personally don't take offense to anything that is to provoke or push people over the edge. however, all the characters are just caricatures. the cover today was the closest to his character. i think this is why you don't see the kind of outrage from ordinary muslims that might have said this is offensive. i think they're saying finally we're acknowledging who the prophet really was. he was seen as a mercy to human kind and very forgiving of his enemies and tried to transform his enemies and i think what we need to be discussing right now is the actions of the terrorists, are they really the
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teachings of the prophet or some ideology that nobody understands or recognizes? >> it is certainly a discussion that continues. we thank you both, daisy khan, the american society for muslim advancement, bertrand vannier with radio france. >> thank you so much for having us. >> ifill: in the past seven days, the 2016 race for president has moved from mostly theoretical to quite substantial. in a minute, we'll analyze that campaign landscape. but first, a brief look at the action of just the past week and where things stand at the moment. the 2016 field is already crowded, with nearly two dozen potential candidates all jockeying for position. but set aside that entire group for a moment. this past week about half of that field made significant moves. we start alphabetically with republicans, former florida governor jeb bush is meeting with top g.o.p. donors and his
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leadership pac is now up and running. in new jersey, governor chris christie is planning to set up his own fundraising pac as early as this month, according to the "new york times." next, another former governor, arkansas mike huckabee released a book last week. a now predictable part of running for president. another state leader, former new york governor george pataki told "the boston globe" this week he is seriously considering a bid. and, kentucky senator rand paul announced yesterday that he has hired a presidential campaign manager. and upending this entire process, mitt romney, the 2012 nominee, told a group of donors last week that he is considering a third run for the oval office. then there is marco rubio, who also released a new book just yesterday. rounding out the field, former senator rick santorum brought his former campaign staff together to meet in washington this week. for democrats, all eyes are on hillary clinton, who's starting to put some key staff on the
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payroll, including a pollster who worked for president obama and john podesta, who expected to leave the obama white house this spring. joining us now to discuss this whirlwind of activity are amy walter of the cook political report and nia malika henderson of "the washington post." why, all of a sudden, is all of this happening? it feels like it's kicked in. >> in 2007 by the time we hit the end of february, john mccain, hillary clinton and barack obama all announced. but this is a multi-million-dollar operation these people are putting together. you don't raise that kind of money overnight, you don't put the staff together in a couple of months. this takes a great deal of time and effort to put together this kind of operation. >> ifill: is this driven by competition or the need to raise the money? >> both really. that's why a lot of these conversations are going on among donors. mitt romney goes to donors and
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says i want to be president. marco rubio is getting his gang together in florida next weekend to see what his viability is going for. it really is about raising, what, a billion dollars you've got to raise and you've got to make the case to these donors that you are a worthy investment so that's what's going on right now. >> and it doesn't hurt to try to scare off your competitors too. >> right. let's start with the big surprise, mitt romney, third time's the charm, he's hoping, but -- really? >> we talk to people around him and they say, really? he said yes in 2013 he said no, no i'm not going to do that -- >> 2011. and 2014 comes around, he's a sought after surrogate on the campaign trail. campaigned for a lot of
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successful 2014 candidates. there was adoration for him he saw it what it was like to be a candidate. and now he's reassessing. >> ifill: jeb bush was reassessing, too. a few months ago, he wasn't interested. his mother said he wasn't interested. >> he pretty much had that same line. he would have to consult with his wife his family wasn't quite on board including his mom. and then i think what's happened is he's obviously had a change of heart. mitt romney's had a change of heart. they're looking across aisle, looking at hillary clinton and figuring maybe she isn't as strong as her poll members suggest. they're also looking at the field where someone like chris christie definitely isn't looking as strong as a year or two ago and looking at this landscape in politics where you've got to make a credible case that you can raise a billion dollars and over the last years, ho w.h.o.'s been able to do that?
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the bush family and romney has been able to do that. getting back to romney, romney, i think looks at what happened in 2012 the map he got clobbered with the electoral map burks in terms of votes, it was 5 million. i think he's looking and says oh, you switch a few here and there, maybe it would look different. >> the fresh new faces. we have the clinton a bush, a romney and a son to santorum, a huckabee, a lot of people who have run before. what is different? >> what this suggests, if i may, a republican governor? i'm not very nervous now. what i would be looking at is fine let these guys go out there put themselves out front. i know the public is looking for something new. we talked about you talk to voters, listen to focus groups, there's a hunger for something new and different. >> ifill: scott walker, bobby jindal or chris christie.
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>> people who are not well-known names, but who are well-positioned in that they're not a part of washington, they're new fresh faces, they have executive experience and they can potentially parlay that into success. they're not going to be able to show they can raise the money quite yet but as they get a little money the donor's follow. >> ifill: folks are looking at hillary clinton across the aisle and thinking she's beatable, right? is she? who else is rising on the democratic side to give her a run? >> well, you know, funny you should ask. maybe jim webb who ran for senator in virginia, 2006, didn't win by much and decided not to run again because i think he felt like, a, he doesn't really like politics and maybe he wasn't going to win, he's now talking about looking at working class white men and that may be a way he he may have an edge
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against hillary clinton. maybe somebody like martin o'malley the outgoing governor of maryland, somebody like that. bernie sanders who's a socialist. but hard to see how they really challenge hillary. if you talk to folks in the hillary campaign -- >> ifill: elizabeth warren you didn't mention her. >> she isn't mentioning herself. >> ifill: she keeps saying no. don't know if she's said no as many as mitt romney, but the question is she a boutique liberal or a liberal in the mold of barack obama who could really reshape the democratic party? could she get the african-american voters. >> ifill: if you look at the hillary world it matters who you're hiring and who's coming on your side. a lot of these folks we assume are lining up for one of the candidates. how much significance is it she
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hired president obama's pollster, he hired his ad man and john podesta is going to work for her. >> ifill: she was relying on the bill clinton group to give her advice, she needed to get outside that bubble and she's doing that by hiring the obama team. hillary's biggest problem is not in the primary. there's no empirical evidence there's a hunger for a fresh face on the democratic side like the republican side that i've seen. at the same time, history is not kind to a candidate trying to be a third term. for democrats, if you don't count f.d.r., which i do not, you have to go back to the 1830s, it is a tough, tough thing. >> ifill: i hate sports analogies but spring training seems to apply. >> yes. >> ifill: amy walter, nia malika henderson, thank you both. >> thank you.
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>> woodruff: the issue of sexual assaults in the military has been front and center in recent years and has sparked a heated political debate. tonight, we take a look what happens when some sexual offenders are released from the armed services. correspondent mark greenblatt of the scripps news service investigative unit has our story. >> reporter: in the calm of central wisconsin's roll hills, big-city dangers seem as if they're an entire world away. yet right here in the small town of readsburg, population 10,000, a serial sex offender from the military chose his latest victim, an unsuspecting civilian. >> i can't sleep at night knowing that man was in our house and that i didn't catch it, i didn't know it, i didn't realize it, i didn't suspect anything. >> reporter: this wisconsin moth who are asked us not to use her name to protect her family is talking about ma view s.
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carr -- matthew s. carr who met her daughter on the internet in 2010 claiming he was a gynecologist in the air force awaiting leaving to afghanistan. the moving letter explained her daughter's fast-moving relationship. >> she shared he planned on moving to wisconsin and they were going to get engaged. i still wanted to check him out so i went online and did a search. >> reporter: she looked for crimes and also on registries for sex offenders. what did you find? >> nothing at all. >> reporter: but it turns out carr was concealing a secret. the air force had kicked him out following a court martial conviction in 2003 for indecent assault of seven women. it sentenced him to seven years in prison for conning one woman after the next into fake gynecology exams. but it all came back up when
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another suspicious family member dug up carr's military record and gave it to the mother. >> i read it, could not begin to believe it or comprehend it at first. my blood turned absolutely cold. i started to shake and said, she's in danger right now so that's when we decided to act, immediately. >> reporter: what did you do? we jumped in our vehicle and we headed towards reedsburg which sus a good 45 minutes to an hour away. >> reporter: but by then matthew carr had already sexually assaulted her daughter. had he been registered as a sex offender, you would have found that out before he ever moved out here. >> yes. it didn't have to happen the way it did. >> reporter: eventually, matthew carr went to prison in wisconsin, but it turns out there are horns of convicted military sexual offenders whose names and offenses don't appear on any public registry once they leave the service.
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a nine-month investigation by scripps news discovered at least 242 offenders who have gone under the radar disappearing into neighborhoods adrops country and in some -- across the country and in some cases have gone on to prey again and again. the federal awam walsh act requires civilian sex offenders to register before they're released from prison but the military lacks the authority to do that so instead the department of defense turns to the honor system trusting the very sex criminals it convicts to register themselves after they leave the military brig. of more than 1300 cases reviewed, we found one in five rapists, child molesters and sexual offenders convicted in the military do not appear on any public registry and there are other problems, when matt carr showed up in new york, federal probation officials say mistaken paperwork from the military made it appear as if he
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was convicted of a lesser assault just a misdemeanor that is not a sex offense there. new york state said he didn't have to register. that allowed carr to move to wisconsin where he never checked in with police. >> he victimized people outside the civilian world where we could have stopped it from happening. >> reporter: then basil kings kingsbury convicted of rape and forcible sodomy got out of fort leven worth in 2005 and headed to mississippi. he ended up in georgia instead where he slipped through the system's cracks. have you found basil kingsbury yet? >> not yet. >> reporter: you're looking. oh yeah, we're looking. >> reporter: vernon keannan is the director of the georgia beau bureau of investigation which had kingsbury in its sights nine years ago but investigators here mistakenly thought his military conviction was overturned. they wrote for clarification to
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the sex offender unit at the military prison in fort levenworth and even to the u.s. army records center in virginia, requesting a written reply if kingsbury did in fact ha v to register. but keannan said -- >> we have no record of him responding. >> reporter: so georgia ruled he did not have to register, allowing kingsbury to move around freely ever since. we tracked him to this small town in york county, south carolina. authorities had no idea they had a convicted sex offender living in their community. >> in the state of south carolina, if you move here, and you're a convicted sex offender, you have to come to the local sheriff's office and register as a sex offender. >> reporter: incredibly the york county sheriff's office arrested kingsbury in june on a domestic violence incident at this apartment complex but local officials never knew about the army convictions his eleven-year sentence or that he needed to register.
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law enforcement officials have no idea where he is today and they're worried. >> i think anytime we have a sex offender who is not registered as required by law, that that is a matter of public safety. >> and when there are hundreds that are unregistered -- >> that is a disaster waiting to happen. >> reporter: the department of defense's own inspector general concluded this august that the military's inability to register its own prisoners while still behind bars enables offenders to evade registration later. the department of defense declined repeated on-camera interview requests so at a recent pentagon press briefing about sexual assault in the military, we asked about the hundreds of convicted sexual offenders who leave the military and go under the radar. >> this is something that has not come to your attention yet? >> no. i knew -- i have seen an extract of what you are describing but i
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will tell you that is not one that i am well-versed in. >> reporter: major general jeffery snow leads the military's office in charge of preventing and responding to sexual assaults inside the military. should be there an aspect of prevention and response of further sexual assaults in the civilian community as well that comes under your leadership? >> in light of your question we'll obviously take a look at that, so thank you. >> this has to be fixed. this is a gaping loophole. >> reporter: congresswoman jackie spear is a california democrat who service on the house arms services committee. >> it's a damnation of the military justice system and it's a damnation of the military and their responsibility in protecting civil society because, in fact, they are not. >> reporter: four years ago, spear pushed legislation that would have required a military database tracking sexual assaults. >> today i introduce h.r.3435
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with 44 co-sponsors. >> reporter: her office told us she backed off when the military told them this was not an issue claiming they were vigilant about ensuring offenders were being put on registers upon release. what's your take now? >> i'm sick to my stomach. >> reporter: what would your message director be to the department of defense if they don't embrace change on this issue? >> i can't imagine they're not going to embrace change. this is too serious of a matter. >> reporter: separately a dod official e-mailed us to say that if congress required it the dod could register an offender officially but the onus would remain on offenders to reregister as they move from state to state and he concluded it would have no practical effect observe on the problem, but the mother from wisconsin is not con swrinsed. i would ask how he would feel if this happened to his daughter. >> reporter: mark greenblatt,
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pbs "newshour" in washington. >> ifill: scripps reporter mark greenblatt follwed up with the pentagon to see if they had any further comment since major general snow's news conference. a spokesman responded via email saying: "the department takes this issue very seriously and that is why we have been, and remain in the process of developing department-wide policy and a partnership with the united states marshals service, which will ensure that convicted sex- offenders fully comply with the sex offender registration and notification act, as the law intended." he added that the policy and partnership is expected to be finalized in early spring. >> woodruff: president obama has been increasingly active about greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. today, through the power of executive action once again, his administration announced a plan to cut down on methane emissions created by new gas drilling and oil production.
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the goal: reduce those emissions by at least 40% by the year 2025 from the levels the u.s. reached in 2012. it comes amid the big rise of fracking in america. for a closer look at the concerns around methane nd the potential impact, we check in with coral davenport of the new york times. and, michael oppenheimer, a climate scientist at princeton university and a member of un panels that have issued reports about climate change. we welcome you both back to the program. coral davenport to you, first, why is the president doing this now? >> the president really wants to use these last two years of his term to build a legacy on climate change. he knows that he can't move anything through congress. he tried that in his first term and it failed. now with the new republican congress, any kind of legislation is d.o.a., so he's turned to the power of the clean air act, an existing law under
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which he can put out regulations to govern pollution from different sectors of the economy. we've seen him move forward on regulations on emissions from vehicles and power plants, so this is is another piece to have the economy, he's going to sector by sector to rein in emissions wherever they are. so these methane emissions from oil and gas wells, the oil and gas sector are a big piece of the nation's greenhouse gas pollution. >> woodruff: so michael oppenheimer, help us understand why methane is such a concern. we hear a lot about carbon dioxide. what about methane? >> methane is right blind carbon dioxide as the second most important global warming gas, in fact contributes more than 20% of the current warming effect. the other thing about methane that you have to understand is, per ton emitted it's at least 28 times more potent than carbon
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dioxide, just that we emate a lot more carbon dioxide so it's important to reduce the me that be emissions to solve the problem. finally, methane response more quickly to reductions in emissions than carbon dioxide. so if you want to affect the rate of warming over the next few decades you need to complement the deep cuts in carbon dioxide we need to solve the problem with parallel cuts in methane to give human beings a greater opportunity to adapt to climate change by slowing the rate. >> woodruff: professor oppenheimer, following up we mentioned fracking. the fracking inherently producing methane and that's a big part of this, or is it the fact that there's just more fracking than there used to be so the amount of methane is increasing? help us get that straight. >> the process of extracting, delivering and using gas leaks end to end and part of that is
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the leaking at the wellhead and fracking is certainly an important part of that problem. we certainly don't have good numbers for the whole stream but we can tell you that from the extraction of the gas to the pumping of it to putting it in the transmission lines to transmitting it to cities, to distributing it, and then right to the utility to the appliances in your home, the system leaks, and getting those leaks fixed not in any one spot, but through the whole system, including the wellheads of the fracking wells is very important and that's what this proposal aims to do. >> well, davenport how is the oil and gas industry reacting to this? >> the oil and gas industry hates new regulations. they have been insisting all along they don't need the new regulations. one of their arguments is methane is a component of natural gas and, thus, is part of what oil and gas producers are pulling out of the ground
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and taking to market and selling. oil and gas producers say it's not a financial interest to keep the leaks from happening. the more methane leaks, the more we lose money, you don't need to regulate us, we're going to self-regulate anyway. that's been the industry's argument. the problem with that is there are a lot of leaks, as professor oppenheimer said, there's a study in science last year that found that methane is leaking from oil and gas production and transportation systems at rates 50% higher than previously thought. so they don't like it, but they do also have the technology to comply. >> woodruff: what about the environmental community? what are they saying, pleased? >> the environmental community is partially pleased and partially displeased. these regulations are never fully strong enough for them. these regulations address new or future oil and gas production facilities. they actually don't directly address existing oil and gas
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production facilities. so environmentalists say well this is great, new oil and gas production will have to be built with regulations to prevent leaks. the regulations will say -- the administration will work with the industry on voluntary plans for existing facilities. environmentalists say that's not good enough. they're going to push for the administration to move forward later on regulation on existing facilities but we may not see that for several years. >> woodruff: and michael oppenheimer, we know the president has signed on, has committed to some international agreements on improving the environment. how will this set of -- this particular set of regulations on methane play into that? how much of a difference will it make? >> we have to make a full court press if we're going to get ahead of global warming and avoid the danger zone which starts above a warming of somewhere around three and a
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half or four degrees fahrenheit warming. we're never going to make that unless we have deep cuts in carbon dioxide and make collateral cuts in the other greenhouse gases, and this has to start now or else we'll simply never get there. i just want to add to one of of coral's points is the cost of these measures is modest. it's estimated at 1 penny per 1,000 cubic feet. so for instance for a typical home in new york during the winter it might add dimes to the heating bill of a typical user. you're not really going to notice this. >> woodruff: michael oppenheimer, coral davenport we thank you both. >> thanks so much. >> ifill: two rock climbers made history today, in california's yosemite national park
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completing what's being called the hardest climb in the world. 30-year-old kevin jorgeson and 36-year-old tommy caldwell became the first to free-climb a 3,000 foot sheer slab of granite to reach the summit of el capitan. the two started their journey on december 27th, and continued their half-mile trek up the dawn wall route, to the peak. they marked their progress through different pitches or sections of the route. they used no climbing aids other than safety ropes to catch their falls. here's kevin jorgeson on the dawn wall talking about the weather conditions they faced earlier in their trek. >> we looked at the forecast and saw that there's this crazy, arctic wind storm happening today. it's getting pretty rowdy! the poor ledge, despite being latched down is getting tossed around like a rag doll. >> ifill: for more on this journey, i spoke earlier with chris weidner, a freelance
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writer for numerous publications and a climber himself. chris, i have to start by asking you this, why are they doing this? just because it's there? >> well, that's certainly a common misconception. it surely is there. many people, though, many thousands of people have climbed el capitan before. they're doing this particular route in the style they're doing it which is free climbing because, as you said earlier, it is the hardest big wall free climb in the world, hands down. >> ifill: explain how this is different from other people. other people have scaled this particular rock before, but why is this climb different? the key to understanding why this is different is all about the free climbing aspect and that is simply a chose up self-imposed rule basically that makes it much more challenges because, frankly, for climbers as good as caldwell and
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goringson, just starting at the bottom of the don wall and going to the top is unchallenging. so they are climbing el cap as you would imagine two climbers climb. they're going up the rock placing gear, tied into ropes. if they fall off they will be just fine, they're caught. what people don't understand about this climb is the free aspect which means -- well, which means what i just explained but basically not free climbing is the hard part to understand. >> ifill: let me help you. i've heard they have climbed and their fingers are bleeding and literally they are not using any equipment to attach themselves to the rock face. >> that's not exactly true. yes, their fingers are bleeding. they are using equipment to attach themselves to the rock for example, at the top of each pitch. over, what they're not doing is placing gear and grabbing it to makeup ward progress at a hard
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spot. they're not stepping on a bolt, for example they're not resting on the rope. all of those things are considered aid climbing. they're not doing that, they're just free climbing. >> ifill: how long have they been doing this and in what kind of shape are they in at this point? >> gosh, they've specifically worked on the don wall for seven years. for tommy, it's been his main objective in those seven years and for kevin it's been his objective for at least five of those years, so they're absolutely in the fittest shape of their lives for this type of climb. >> ifill: how do you prepare for something like this? >> man, a lot of preparing for this specific climb initially, anyway, the first couple of years was just exploring the face, exploring the don wall. on repel, tommy would swing around and try to find the path of resistance to this pretty smooth shield of rock.
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to start, the preparation was just finding the best way. then it's down to pure training. i know tommy and kevin both have been training harder than before, especially this year. >> ifill: basic question, how do you sleep on a sheer rock face in. >> well, they've had these two portal edges set up that you've probably seen photographs of in the middle of a wall. that's kind of like their base camp. it's actually more comfortable than it might look. it's nice and flat. they have hanging stoves. they have their comfy sleeping bags and pillows. >> ifill: that's comfortable by a climber's point of view. >> yeah. >> ifill: but how much is this difficult and how much of this is dangerous? >> okay, that's a great question because i think the public tends to misunderstand that. it's really not very dangerous. in fact it's probably not more dangerous than any other climb of el capitan. one way to look at that is it's
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probably more dangerous than to just drive to yosemite from where tom where is in colorado than to climb el cap. what they're doing is not more dangerous, it's just way, way more difficult. >> chris, thanks for helping us out. >> yes, thank you very much. >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. french authorities arrested 54 people in a crackdown on hate speech after last week's terror attacks. and "charlie hebdo" published a new issue with a cartoon of muhammad one week after islamist gunmen killed 12 people at the satirical newspaper. and wall street dropped again on concerns about global growth and falling retail sales. the dow industrials fell nearly 190 points. >> woodruff: on the newshour online, carla keirns was in labor for two days when doctors suggested she have a c-section instead of delivering naturally, which was her wish.
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after many consultations and several hours, she prevailed. but keirns is also a trained physician. what can non-experts do to exercise more control over their own baby deliveries? we talked to doctor keirns, and you can read that q-and-a on our home page. all that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on thursday, we go behind the wheel of a driver-less car. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you on-line and again here tomorrow evening, for all of us here at the pbs newshour thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: this is about growing in a community. every day across the country the men and women of the i.b.e.w. are committed to doing the job right. doing the job safe. and doing the job on time.
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